Welcome to part one of the Real Estate Lead Generating Website Series. If you want to learn more and how you can generate up to five leads per day using digital marketing, save 40% on the Real Estate Digital Marketing Mastery course or sign up for the newsletter!
Building your real estate website will not be too difficult for you. The more important skills needed are far less technical and more focused on marketing — anyone can get a website up and running but only some will generate leads from it.
For your real estate website to be successful and to generate leads, you’ll have to ensure it has many lead forms, quality content, high-quality photos, and a blog. You want to stand out while providing value, entertainment, and education — do this and everyone nearing the market will come to you for their real estate needs
Why You Need a Website for your Real Estate Business
You know you need a website but do you know why you need a website? It’s too easy to get caught up with trying to be like all your competitors who have big, fancy, expensive websites. Does this mean you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on a similar site? I’m sure if you asked them what kind of leads they’re bringing in with that site they may not even have satisfactory answers.
You need a website to generate leads — plain and simple. Your website is used to help people perceive you a certain way and assists in your marketing but ultimately, your website is used to capture people’s address, emails, and phone numbers.
Although that’s the goal of your website, it shouldn’t be the purpose of your website. You would not put up a site with a picture of your latest listing and a form to have people fill out. That’s not providing any value to your users and they’ll quickly lose trust in you.
As you’re aware, real estate is one of the most visual industries. You can talk about a home all day but it won’t make much sense until you see it for yourself. This is one reason why websites are so valuable if you’re an agent, lender, or anyone else in the space. You have to show off your work and the only way to do that successfully is with digital media on your website.
Further, since your real estate services surely depend on a lot of face-to-face appointments and physical interaction, your website can assist in demonstrating your personality and put people more at ease for when they’re deciding who to work with.
You can accomplish this with video, the written word, and photos very easily. A good real estate website — whether selling homes, buying homes as investment properties, lending mortgages, roofing, titling, or anything else — will have a video of you and your partners on the very front page welcoming us to the website.
People respond well to video as it makes it very easy for them to consume the media and message without straining to read or search for the things they’re looking for.
If you don’t have a video, showing your personality through images of yourself and, perhaps, past clients, will do a fine job of saying who are you as well.
We’ll get more into this later, but you’ll find that sites that have a lot of visual media attached are going to perform better than those that don’t as well. Video and images captivate people and cause more users to linger on your website longer — this is going to tell search engines that your site is valuable and that it’s a good resource.
Leads Are Your Currency
As real estate professionals, our number one asset to the business is leads. You want more and more leads each and every day. You want leads to call up, leads to email, leads to put on your newsletter so they don’t forget about you, and leads who aren’t even ready to buy or sell but that might be in the future so you can easily get in touch with them.
With leads being the primary objective and top fo the funnel of your business, you better be sure that you have proper vehicles and systems in place that easily capture these leads and that put as many people at the top of that funnel as possible.
In the beginning, Calaboration would focus more on the aesthetics and design of a website. We’d layout beautiful pages and decide on an effective color scheme. It wasn’t long after that we realized we were spinning our wheels since some of the ugliest sites were performing so much better.
Why would this ugly site with only one call to action (CTA) generate so many leads while our premium site which looks like you’re entering Buckingham Palace doesn’t? It’s because of just that — an ugly site with one clear CTA removed all friction from the user and made it very easy for them to do the one thing that we want: filling out the lead capture form.
Because of this seemingly counterproductive property of the web, landing pages are becoming more and more popular since they remove all other features of the site and make it very easy for you to do one thing and one thing only. That one thing could be to view a video or to download a pdf, but if it’s to fill out a lead form, you’ll notice conversation rates soar when there’s nothing else to do on that page but convert.
Now that we all understand that leads are the primary objective of the business, look back to the other ways you were getting leads. Hosting networking events and collecting business cards is a popular way people generate leads — but think about how primitive that process is. You’re missing out on all the people that couldn’t or didn’t want to make it that night which is probably 1000% higher than the number of leads you did receive was.
Hosting open houses or advertising at events might also be a fine source of leads, but that, again, is chopping off a huge piece of the overall market that you’re now missing out on.
You may even have been getting them from Zillow or other similar real estate sites and paying a hefty monthly service fee for it. More on that right now.
Beat Zillow, Trulia, and the other big box real estate empires
You should be thinking of your site as a replacement to Zillow. Now, you don’t have the budget or technical ability to completely put Zillow in the hole, but you do have the resources and time to generate a site worthy enough to intercept leads from Zillow and funnel them down your own system.
If you’re paying Zillow $600/mo for one lead per day, you’re essentially paying $20 per lead (whether they’re good leads or bad) — although that’s not a bad deal, it’s not sustainable for you at all — it’s immensely sustainable for Zillow, though.
People land on a Zillow page because of Zillow’s SEO. When you search for homes in this area, Zillow has the optimal pages generated and running that will show up on top as soon as anyone starts clicking. Why aren’t you showing up there instead?
Your blog, content, and everything else included in your site is going to be geared toward creating the greatest SEO you could possibly have for your site. If you do this right, even though you might not overtake Zillow’s ranking in your area, showing up even one step below is going to yield extremely good results for the traffic on your site.
Now, instead of people coming to Zillow and inputting their information when they find an apartment they like, they can come to your site and give you their information when they find an apartment you like. This does a couple things:
- Gets you the lead for free
- Increases your SEO reputation and improves your ranking
Instead of paying Zillow for that same exact lead, it comes right to your inbox since you put in the work to generate that lead in the first place. Buying the lead off Zillow wouldn’t be terrible except you gain no SEO on your site from it. When you buy from Zillow, you’re just fueling Zillow to overtake your website even more. If you reinvest those resources back into your site, you grow your personal site and get closer to overtaking Zillow. Don’t fuel the hand that’s going to charge you to be fed again.
When users are trusting your site and filling out lead forms on it, you’re establishing your site as an authoritative establishment that is going to be rewarded with more traffic in the future.
So many things we’re going to be discussing as part of your digital strategy revolves around optics and aesthetics — your email address is no different.
Have you ever come across a real estate agent, or even worse, the owner of a real estate business who handed you a business card that says, “Sally Smith – CEO of NY Brokerages – SallyNY@hotmail.com”. It happens far too often and I always wonder why they haven’t just spent the extra few bucks and get themselves a shiny new email with their domain.
Although getting yourself a real domain and email is going to make you look that much more professional, there is nothing really technical that you might benefit from immediately — so, although it’s certainly recommended, this is something for the nice-to-have category if it’s not feasible for you right now.
What Your Real Estate Website Does For You
“Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that.”
~ Paul Cookson
The greatest advantage you’ll find having a website for your real estate business is the brand you become and the reputation you build.
People are no longer waiting for you to speak at a conference to see what you’re up to or to schedule a whole consultation to get just a little bit of information. Your website is constantly promoting you and always on the prowl for more leads — even when you’re sleeping.
Your website will become the central zone of automation in regards to your business. You’ll be able to put systems in place that walk people through your funnel and then automatically re-target some of those same people with advertisements later on if they didn’t fulfil your goal the first time around.
By tying everything inside the real estate website and ensuring that leads are captured, recorded, and sent down the proper channels, you’ll always have a sales force working for you at any given time — and it’s custom to whoever is viewing your website at that time.
Calaboration sets up funnels as simple as
1-2-3, and as complex as
1-1.5/2-2.5/3-4-5-6.5/7. The first one is a basic structure that goes like:
- Landing Page
Whereas the other one is a more complex structure that goes like:
- View website
- View blog post
- View Advertisement with the topic of that blog post
- View landing page specifically targeting those that are interested in that blog post
If your website is always running and always promoting you, you will always have the opportunity to be in front of somebody and to potentially do business with them.